Last Week: 10-6
Overall: 10-6

The opening week of the NFL Season brought some mild surprises and sloppy play.  I went 10-6 with my picks last week, but I was a Mark Sanchez wispy mustache hair away from a more respectable 11-5 if not for the bone-headed penalty by Tampa Bay that allowed the Jets to lay it up for the game-winning FG.  Tennessee put together a surprisingly solid performance against the Steelers, and here’s to hoping that Pittsburgh is truly as awful the whole year as they showed in that game.  Speaking of surprises in Pennsylvania, the Eagles aren’t as polished as they appeared early in the game against the Redskins and RGIII won’t be as tentative either.  In a nutshell, there’s sure to be overreactions to Week 1 and the careless play will continue so here are my thoughts on the Week 2 slate.

Jets @ Patriots

You could make the argument that both teams should be 0-1 heading into this game.  I won’t be making that argument.  Sure, the Jets should have lost, but the Patriots fought back admirably against Buffalo after digging themselves a substantial hole.  New England isn’t as bad as some people seem to think, but it will be rough sledding until they get some health on the offensive side of the football.  Still, I don’t envision a scenario where the Jets put together a win on a short week against the Patriots.  New York’s defense will be solid enough on some weeks to win the game (like in Week 1), but I think Geno Smith will struggle mightily this whole year with anticipation and throwing the ball in tight windows.  In the end, the 2nd Round pick might not be a starting caliber QB in the NFL.  Tom Brady is not losing this game.

Win: New England Patriots

Rams @ Falcons

I pick these games on Tuesday as part of my wife’s work pool, and this is one of those games that I’m kind of re-considering.  Are the Falcons whole?  Roddy White was rough and largely incapacitated in Week 1 against the Saints, and it looks like Julio Jones could be battling something this week as well.  Meanwhile, I love Jeff Fisher and he had the Rams hitting on all cylinders against the Cardinals.  Jared Cook was finally utilized properly (fuck off, Chris Palmer) and he could do some real damage again this week against the Falcons’ subpar defense.  Don’t be surprised if Cook finds the seam and hits on 2 more TDs this week.  I still expect Atlanta to gut out a win in this one because that’s what good teams do so I’m interested to see how they respond following the tough opener against the division rival Saints.  Atlanta needs more out of Tony Gonzalez and the Falcons need to rely on Stephen Jackson’s energy to pound the ball against his former team.  This will be a close competition, but I give the edge to Atlanta.

Win: Atlanta Falcons

Panthers @ Bills

Both teams played well against their respective competition in Week 1 yet still lost.  Someone has to win this game, and I think it’s a coin flip.  With a match-up this close in terms of talent, I’m going with the more experienced quarterback, which is Cam Newton.  Buffalo’s E.J. Manuel showed surprising acumen last week, but there will be growing pains and I still don’t trust him even at home.  Carolina could have and probably should have closed the door on the Seattle Seahawks last week, but a conservative game plan really handcuffed the offense.  Although the Panthers lack offensive talent outside of Cam Newton and Steve Smith, I’m hoping they’ll be a little more creative this week and I trust in their defensive front to give the Bills trouble.  Unless Buffalo can create holes running the ball, this might be a tough game for the Bills as they try to avoid going 0-2 in a competitive yet mediocre division.

Win: Carolina Panthers

Vikings @ Bears

Minnesota might as well not even have a quarterback.  I put Christian Ponder in the same category as Jake Locker, which is not a good thing.  Neither will make enough throws to win the game for you so their teams will have to rely on the running game with a handful of short to intermediate passes sprinkled into the game plan.  Fortunately, these teams have talented running backs and Adrian Peterson can completely take over a game and put the entire team on his back.  If the Vikings are to win, Adrian Peterson will have to be a freak, which is something I anticipate saying nearly every week.  Chicago is too balanced for Minnesota, and the Bears should win this without much threat as long as they keep Cutler upright because I think Brandon Marshall will be open all day.  If the Monsters of the Midway can create a turnover or two, this won’t even be close after halftime.  Chicago should be much more competitive than Minnesota this year.

Win: Chicago Bears

Redskins @ Packers

As stated earlier, RGIII looked very tentative and uncomfortable for large stretches last week against the Eagles.  Since he was auto-drafted as my starting QB in Fantasy Football, I’m hoping that game will just amount to Griffin’s pre-season warm-up.  But the comeback will probably continue this week as we learn what RGIII can and can’t do.  I expect Washington to be careful and continue to be vanilla on offense.  If we’re lucky, maybe Washington will progress to be French vanilla this week.  Whether or not that’s good enough depends on the Packers defense.  Aaron Rodgers will get his and Green Bay will put up 24+ points even against a stout defense, but the Packers desperately need to win this one and I think they’ll do so if Griffin is contained to airing it out.  Right now, I’ll put my faith in Rodgers and the Packers.

Win: Green Bay Packers

Dolphins @ Colts

In a rematch of last year’s fight for one of the final playoff spots, Miami will travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts to see who can come out of the gates strong.  I have to admit, I didn’t see the Dolphins dismantling Cleveland coming—though the Browns may not be any good on offense.  And I also didn’t expect the Raiders to give the Colts as much of a fight as they did.  So who are these two teams?  We’ll get a better look in this bout, but I’ll give the nod to the home team in the Oil Drum.  Although Indy’s defense has as many holes as a victim of a drive-by shooting, the Dolphins still don’t have anyone who can run the football so I don’t expect them to take advantage too much on the ground.  Whether or not Miami is any good hinges on Ryan Tannehill, and I think Mike Wallace is way more of a distraction than weapon at this point.  60 Minutes can get behind the Colts’ secondary this week, but the ignorant WR complaining about his touches (in a winning effort, I might add) never seems to play out well.  Andrew Luck has given me no reason to think he can’t pull off the win even in a comeback at home.

Win: Indianapolis Colts

Cowboys @ Chiefs

As with the STL-ATL match-up, I am second guessing my early choice, but I’ll stay locked into the call.  After a solid yet unspectacular showing in Week 1, I went with the Cowboys over the Chiefs in this Week 2 fight, but I did not consider the overwhelming love and support that America’s Team would be getting heading into this game.  I expected most to give Kansas City their support at home in one of the NFL’s toughest places to play.  Most of the time, a coin toss game is where both teams are equally as ungood, but I actually think both Dallas and Kansas City will stick around as potential playoff teams for much of the year.  The Cowboys’ chances in this game will rest squarely on the shoulders of Tony Romo on their offensive line.  I expect a lot of false starts and sloppy play from Dallas, but I don’t expect the Chiefs to run away early since the Cowboys have a surprisingly solid defense.  If Dallas can contain Jamaal Charles and make Alex Smith beat them in the air, then the Cowboys have good odds of pulling off the win on the road in a rough environment.  Needless to say, I won’t be surprised if Jamaal Charles runs all over them though.

Win: Dallas Cowboys

Browns @ Ravens

Cleveland clearly isn’t as balanced as I had hoped.  However, Baltimore is as shitty on offense as I would expect with only one play-making receiver.  Still, I expect the Ravens to be more of a playoff competitor than the Browns and they definitely need to win this one to stay around.  Luckily, Brandon Weeden isn’t any good so Baltimore can beat up on their division opponent if they bottle up Trent Richardson—who unforgivably didn’t get the opportunity to establish his presence last week against Miami.  Baltimore’s lack of receivers who can move the chains will continue to be a huge problem all year, but I expect them to put up enough points behind Ray Rice to overtake the Browns.

Win: Baltimore Ravens

Titans @ Texans

Tennessee may actually have a pulse this year.  The same can’t necessarily be said for Jake Locker, but the Titans can be successful if they run the ball at least 60% of the time.  On the other side, the Texans proved they are in for some struggles this season after wasting the prime of Arian Foster’s career.  Matt Schaub isn’t getting any better and Andre Johnson is getting much older.  If Ben Tate can stay healthy and garner a larger offensive role, then I like the Texans to win their division over the Colts.  But in this game, I won’t be shocked if Houston struggles again.  If Chance Warmack and the renovated Tennessee offensive line can maul their way through the Texans, then the Titans can win again without a quarterback.  But I just don’t see that happening.  Locker will turn the ball over this week and face enough pressure for Houston to be thanking the Football Gods that they’ve faced two shitty QBs thus far.

Win: Houston Texans

Chargers @ Eagles

San Diego showed signs of life in the first half of their first game—proving to be more cagey in the Mike McCoy Era than what I had expected.  But Philip Rivers throws like a girl and he acted more like an infield coach in baseball by constantly throwing groundballs in the second half.  Meanwhile, the Eagles also came out of the gates strong last week before fading in the second half, which I expect to be a staple of Philadelphia this year.  Having a chaotic, fast-paced offensive is fantastic when it is running like a well-oiled, efficient machine, but I think this philosophy will really hurt the Eagles in the second half of games and later this season.  In the short-term, this will conceal the warts they have on defense as long as Vick is healthy and moving the chains.  Once more injuries strike on offense, the defense will be on the field more and more.  The Chargers won’t give Philadelphia much of a challenge in this game, which will build the hype more for the Eagles.  But right now, this offense is more of a gimmick than a solid staple of a great team.

Win: Philadelphia Eagles

Lions @ Cardinals

Last week, I rode the Detroit Lions over the Vikings and it paid off.  While the Cardinals are more competitive with Carson Palmer at QB, I think they’ll struggle in many of the same ways as Minnesota—especially since they can’t run the ball as well as Adrian Peterson.  Detroit will rush Arizona and force quick decisions, which isn’t a good thing when Carson Palmer is your playmaker since he always has a handful of regrettable decisions.  However, Palmer did well last week while averaging less than 3 seconds before throwing the ball.  But Detroit is a much better defense than St. Louis so I expect the Levi Brown Turnpike (or Turnstyle) to be more of a factor this week.  With a banged-up and questionable Larry Fitzgerald, I think the Lions have a prime opportunity to come into Arizona and pull off the road win.

Win: Detroit Lions

Saints @ Buccaneers

Well, having a head coach does make a difference after all.  New Orleans stuck it to Atlanta last week with Sean Payton back on the sidelines, and I expect the same against the underachieving Buccaneers in Week 2.  Josh Freeman garnered comparisons to Daunte Culpepper early in his career, but he’s much more Culpepper with the Dolphins at this point.  Doug Martin will be more effective with his lead blocker back this week, but I don’t see the Saints faltering as America continues to worship at the altar of Drew Brees and Sean Payton.  New Orleans has its fair share of faults, but they are back in the playoff picture.

Win: New Orleans Saints

Jaguars @ Raiders

In a battle of who the fuck cares who is playing, the Jacksonville Bridgewaters take on the Oakland Clowneys.  In all likelihood, these are the two worst teams in the NFL—unless Tampa Bay continues to get inconsistent, incompetent play from the QB position.  Oakland showed way more life in Week 1 than what I had anticipated, and since I’m taking them in Week 2, I expect Chad Henne to do enough to make this close and possibly pull off the win.  Let’s be honest, anything that Henne gives Jacksonville would be an improvement over Blaine Gabbert.  Both these teams will need to find a real quarterback, but Pryor has the most potential with his running ability (with zero throwing ability).  This will probably be a stinker.

Win: Oakland Raiders

Broncos @ Giants

Brother vs. Brother.  Elite QB vs. Elite QB.  Manning vs. Manning.  Denver isn’t as dominant as the Week 1 effort avenging the playoff loss against the Ravens, and I don’t think New York will be as scattershot as they showed against the Cowboys.  The Giants are bipolar, which makes them dangerous because you never know what personality will shine through.  I expect New York to put together a better defensive showing this week, but I also expect that it won’t matter all that much against Peyton.  Wes Welker continued to get open at will while laughing maniacally at the Patriots’ struggles in Week 1.  With Julius Thomas giving Denver yet another weapon on offense, I don’t think it matters who is running the ball for the Broncos as long as they protect Peyton Manning.  Eli will keep the Giants in this competition, and I can even envision a scenario where a comeback drive could make it close.  But the better Manning will show up and will show why they are a serious Super Bowl favorite.

Football on Your Phone

Win: Denver Broncos

49ers @ Seahawks

Running QBs are all the rage in the NFL, and this is definitely the rivalry of the new NFL.  While everyone loves Kaepernick and Wilson, I don’t think either is ready to completely carry their team through adversity like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  But both of these teams have great defenses and running games to support their young, underpaid signal callers, which makes this rivalry much more interesting.  I’m still not sure if San Francisco has enough playmakers on offense, and Seattle has really been hurt by the injury to Percy Harvin.  Still, I think the Seahawks have more offensive ability and Kaepernick struggled last year in the toughest environment for a road team.  I would rank SEA and KC as two of the toughest teams to play at home, and the Seahawks will win this one narrowly behind the strength of their 12th Man.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Steelers @ Bengals

I’m having a hard time curtailing my gleeful joy at the failure of the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.  Sure, it may be largely due to the Pouncey injury, but Big Ben was awful and so was his supporting cast.  With no one to run the ball and only a few people capable of making a play when they catch it, this could be a very long year for the Steelers.  On the other end, the Cincinnati Bengals could finally be ready to overtake their rival.  The Bengals should have been able to close the door even against a tough Bears team in Week 1, but this could be their coming out party in Week 2 of Monday Night Football against one of America’s finest bandwagon franchises.  I know the people in Pittsburgh love their Steelers, but the widespread hoping on over the last few years has reached Red Sox status.  I am going to relish this fall from grace even if Pittsburgh is able to pull off a surprising upset.  I still don’t trust a Ginger, but I’m forced to put my faith in one against a date rapist with a giant glass jaw.

Win: Cincinnati Bengals

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